Have you ever walked into a familiar store only to find it’s not as familiar anymore, and for one second you wonder if you are in the right place?
Well, I had the opportunity to welcome the 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV to the Automotive Rhythms fleet in the dead of night. Although I knew I was getting in an Altima, once inside, I wasn’t as sure. Was this the Maxima? The cavernous interior, moonroof and large color touch-screen made me wonder if I’d sat in the wrong car.
I had not stepped into a Nissan Maxima, but what Nissan describes as “The Most Innovative Altima Ever.” I was in the right place, and the fruits of their labor are bountiful, even in a package devoid of luxury undertones.
Nissan redesigned the Altima in 2013 and while at night I could not decipher between it and the Maxima, during the day it still wasn’t much different. The 2013 Altima has the same wheelbase as the 2013/14 Maxima, and outside of a few curves in the sportier Maxima, it’s hard to tell them apart.
The interior in the Altima is very approachable. Though the cloth seats and basic paneling drains any luster, it also gives it a better price point. Much larger inside than I remember in any previous Altima; the layout of the gauges are well placed and the console interface is made simple and user-friendly.
Simple is good because the center of the Altima’s technology is the feature-laden hands free system that connects your smartphone to your car, NissanConnect. I quickly hitched my iPhone to the system and NissanConnect accessed my Pandora app to play my favorite stations. NissanConnect makes for an interactive experience that leaves the driver connected to his/her phone without losing connection to the road. On long trips NissanConnect may even divert your attention from a few fuel stops, but the Altima 2.5 SV gets 38 miles to the gallon on the highway, so no worries. This is a statistic I tested on multiple runs from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland participating in Morgan State University’s Homecoming and planning a well-orchestrated wedding proposal to my girlfriend, all in the same weekend.
I have driven a 2011 Maxima for a few years and realize you pay for that V6 engine in more ways than one. The lesser 4-cylinder engine in this Altima, coupled with no demand for premium fuel, equaled savings at the pump. I was able to avoid saying, “yes,” to gas stations early and often. My now fiancé, on the other hand, didn’t hesitate one moment to say, “yes,” to me.
The drive itself is a bit heavy and most suitable for commuting, so you feel a bit detached from the experience, but the Continuously Variable Transmission transmits 180 horsepower quickly and with ease. Although our Altima is not equipped with a V6, the 2.5 liter 4-cylinder was just enough for the city and capable on the highway. The engine is a bit noisy and that might become a nuisance over time.
Most of the features on this vehicle come standard at the $24,100 base price. Our vehicle comes in at $27,005 which includes $1,350 for the Convenience Package, which includes the moonroof, and $595 for the larger 7-inch screen and navigation system (5-inch screen is standard).
Time will tell how the 2013 Altima 2.5 SV performs in our fleet. Check back with us for updates on this vehicle. We look forward to sharing the drive with you.